The Covid-19 crisis has been disruptive for many businesses, but the SMBs have had the major burn of all. There has been some relief in 2021 as the vaccines are here, and the lockdown has been removed. But things are still far from ordinary. And according to experts, it can be until august 2021 to get back to precisely like everything was before covid-19 as the authorities are figuring out the distribution and logistics of the vaccines.
Small businesses have been coping with the aftereffects of Covid since March 2020. And even though the immediate blow has been taken care of, it is essential to consider the long term effects of this generational crisis. The slow burns are often the ones that hurt the most.
It is still not clear what the world will look like after the crisis is over. Will the remote culture take off, will the social distancing continue, will everyone prefer doorstep delivery, and many more questions. The whole crisis might take months to end such a small business need to keep their neck up, plan and keep floating.
Here are some simple but effective measures to help you and your business sail through the prolonged effects of Covid to keep your employees calm and customers happy.
1. Map Out Your Business Expenses
The major problem for small businesses is cash flow. With no or very little company in the previous year, the first concern is how to pay rent, the bills, the suppliers, and employee payments. Don’t fret.
Sit with a clear head and make a realistic estimation of your cash flow for the coming quarters. Now compare your cash flow against fixed expenses like rent, electricity, and supplier’s payments, which you can’t miss. It is a better business decision to cut the flexible costs for a while to make the vital ones and keep the business running.
This kind of solid financial planning and accounting will help you last long, during the end, and after the pandemic.
2. Government Support Initiatives And Public Assistance
The relief packages for small and medium-sized businesses are not new. Governments across the world have been aiding SMBs with relief package loans at low interest.
The US government has released the CARES (the coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security) package of $349 in loans and small businesses’ assistance.
Similarly, the UK governing authorities launched the furlough program. The government will pay upto 80% of a furloughed employee’s salary, £2500/month maximum.
If your business is still struggling to stay open, then get government aid.
There are other ways to take public assistance in relief grants for small business from big tech organizations like Facebook, Amazon, and others.
Although there is still some confusion about such government aids’ interest rates and whether or not they will be canceled, so if your business is already in debt, it is better to shut down for some time than get into the rabbit hole of debt.
3. Invest In Technological Solutions
When nothing is going right, it is time to get creative. And what is a better way to bring creativity than technology in 2021?
For many SMBs using internet-based business alternatives are a great idea. Selling off from a website, home delivery, WhatsApp business account, and building a mobile app are excellent income streams and retail stores.
As we have seen in Covid too, that remote is the future. This is entirely true for consumer services as well.
Read the Blog: 8 Reasons to Outsource Software Product Development
Investing your precious business budget in building a second income stream is worth it in the long run. After Covid, it is wise to be prepared for any complication that might arise. The second stream of income for your business keeps the cash flow going.
You can also consider outsourcing to a software development company for any kind of technical setup and solution.
4. Understand Your Customers
Due to the lockdown, the mindset and preferences of customers have changed. For months everybody was locked in a home, which altered consumer behavior massively.
To keep your business an active part of your customer’s life, you must understand how their habits have changed. And cater to their needs accordingly.
An easy way to do this is to ask your customers something they would like different about your product and service. Maybe some of them decided to order online post Covid too. Perhaps they are scared to be in public but don’t want to be excluded either.
Figure out how the post Covid world will impact your business and change your business model but don’t forget to include your customers in planning. Help them understand themselves better when they buy from you again.
5. Take Care Of Your Employees. Be A Leader.
As scared and stressed as you are, your employees are terrified as well. This is the time to step up, be collected, and calm everyone else. Be ready to ride the wave of change, and don’t complain how gritty it demands you to be. Adapt fast as the situation changes weekly, monthly, or every day.
Your employees are the most valuable part of the business. Without their help, it would be challenging to rerun the company after the Covid crisis.
Here are some suggestions to make it easy for employees and businesses to work together until the pandemic ends.
- Discuss your revised leave policies with the employees. It is essential to let them know that they do not need to work sick until Covid spread is stopped totally.
- Focus on employee health protection plans and execute them well. Ensure everybody wears masks at the workplace; it is necessary to control the spread and protect customers’ and other employees’ health.
- This might be the first time when small businesses are working from home. So, make the required changes and invest in cloud systems so that all your employees can access data in case of working from home.
- Establish clear guidelines about the quality of work, working hours, and other expectations while employees work from home.
Remember, even if the businesses are reopening, masses are coming back to work, but the deadly virus is still not controlled yet. So while waiting for the spread to stop and planning to keep your business alive, be compassionate towards everybody. Covid-19 is something none of us has ever faced before. Let’s help each other out so that we emerge healthier and stronger out of this testing time.